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February 2014

History Books Roundup: Reliving the Past

February 2014

February's roundup of History titles includes DARK INVASION, Howard Blum’s true-life tale of German espionage and terror on American soil during World War I, and the NYPD Inspector who helped uncover the plot (the basis for the film to be produced by and starring Bradley Cooper); THE RACE UNDERGROUND, in which Doug Most chronicles the competition between Boston and New York to construct America's first subway; DOWN TO THE CROSSROADS by Aram Goudsouzian, the story of the last great march of the Martin Luther King, Jr. era, and the first great showdown of the turbulent years that followed; Richard Overy's THE BOMBERS AND THE BOMBED, the ultimate history of the Allied bombing campaigns in World War II; and THE ART OF BETRAYAL by Gordon Corera, which provides a unique and unprecedented insight into the British Secret Service and the reality that lies behind the fiction.

The Adventures of Henry Thoreau: A Young Man's Unlikely Path to Walden Pond by Michael Sims - Biography

February 18, 2014


THE ADVENTURES OF HENRY THOREAU --- chronicling the 10 years in his life beginning with Harvard in 1837 and ending as he walked away from Walden Pond after living in his long dreamed-of cabin for only two years --- tells the dramatic (and at times heartbreaking) story of how a troubled young man found a meaningful life in a tempestuous era.

The Art of Betrayal: The Secret History of MI6: Life and Death in the British Secret Service by Gordon Corera - History

February 6, 2014


Our understanding of what it means to be a spy has been largely defined by the fictional worlds of Ian Fleming and John le Carré. Gordon Corera provides a unique and unprecedented insight into this secret world and the reality that lies behind the fiction. He tells the story of how MI6 has changed since the end of the Second World War and illustrates the danger, the drama and the moral ambiguities that come with working for British intelligence.

Blood Royal: A True Tale of Crime and Detection in Medieval Paris by Eric Jager - History/True Crime

February 25, 2014


In 1407, Louis of Orleans was murdered by a band of masked men. The crime stunned and paralyzed France since Louis had often ruled in place of his brother King Charles, who had gone mad. In charge of the investigation was the Provost of Paris, Guillaume de Tignonville, the city's chief law enforcement officer --- and one of history's first detectives. As de Tignonville began to investigate, he realized that his hunt for the truth was much more dangerous than he ever could have imagined.

The Bombers and the Bombed: Allied Air War Over Europe 1940-1945 by Richard Overy - History

April 28, 2015


THE BOMBERS AND THE BOMBED radically overhauls our understanding of World War II. It pairs the story of the civilian front line in the Allied air war alongside the political context that shaped their strategic bombing campaigns, examining the responses to bombing and being bombed with renewed clarity.

Coolidge by Amity Shlaes - History

February 4, 2014


Calvin Coolidge, who served as president from 1923 to 1929, never rated highly in polls. The shy Vermonter, nicknamed "Silent Cal," has long been dismissed as quiet and passive. History has remembered the decade in which he served as a frivolous, extravagant period predating the Great Depression. Now Amity Shlaes provides a fresh look at the 1920s and its elusive president.

Dark Invasion: 1915: Germany's Secret War and the Hunt for the First Terrorist Cell in America by Howard Blum - History

February 11, 2014


When a “neutral” United States becomes a trading partner for the Allies early in World War I, the Germans implement a secret plan to strike back. A team of saboteurs devise a series of “mysterious accidents” using explosives and biological weapons to bring down vital targets. New York Police Inspector Tom Tunney, head of the department’s Bomb Squad, is assigned the difficult mission of stopping them.

Dear Abigail: The Intimate Lives and Revolutionary Ideas of Abigail Adams and Her Two Remarkable Sisters by Diane Jacobs - Biography

February 25, 2014


Much has been written about the enduring marriage of President John Adams and his wife, Abigail. But few know of the equally strong bond Abigail shared with her sisters, Mary Cranch and Elizabeth Shaw Peabody, accomplished women in their own right. Now acclaimed biographer Diane Jacobs reveals their moving story, which unfolds against the stunning backdrop of America in its transformative colonial years.

Defiant: The POWs Who Endured Vietnam's Most Infamous Prison, the Women Who Fought for Them, and the One Who Never Returned by Alvin Townley - History

February 4, 2014


During the Vietnam War, hundreds of American prisoners-of-war faced years of brutal conditions and horrific torture at the hands of North Vietnamese guards and interrogators. To quash the powerful underground resistance of the POWs, their captors singled out its 11 leaders and banished them to an isolated jail that would become known as Alcatraz. As they suffered in Hanoi, their wives at home launched an extraordinary campaign that would ultimately spark the nationwide POW/MIA movement.

Down to the Crossroads: Civil Rights, Black Power, and the Meredith March Against Fear by Aram Goudsouzian - History

February 4, 2014


DOWN TO THE CROSSROADS is the story of the last great march of the Martin Luther King, Jr. era, and the first great showdown of the turbulent years that followed. Depicting rural demonstrators’ courage and the impassioned debates among movement leaders, Aram Goudsouzian reveals the legacy of an event that would both integrate African Americans into the political system and inspire even bolder protests against it.

Eliot Ness: The Rise and Fall of an American Hero by Douglas Perry - Biography

March 31, 2015


ELIOT NESS follows the lawman through his days in Chicago and into his forgotten second act. As the public safety director of Cleveland, he achieved his greatest success: purging the city of corruption so deep that the mob and the police were often one and the same. And it was here, too, that he faced one of his greatest challenges: a brutal, serial killer known as the Torso Murderer, who terrorized the city for years.

Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War by Mark Harris - History/Entertainment

February 27, 2014


In PICTURES AT A REVOLUTION, Mark Harris turned the story of the five movies nominated for Best Picture in 1967 into a landmark work of cultural history, a book about the transformation of an art form and the larger social shift it signified. Now, in FIVE CAME BACK, he gives us the untold story of how Hollywood changed World War II, and how World War II changed Hollywood, through the prism of five film directors caught up in the war: John Ford, William Wyler, John Huston, Frank Capra and George Stevens.

For Crew and Country: The Inspirational True Story of Bravery and Sacrifice Aboard the USS Samuel B. Roberts by John Wukovits - History

February 25, 2014


On October 25, 1944, the Samuel B. Roberts, along with the other 12 vessels comprising its unit, stood between Japan's largest battleship force ever sent to sea and MacArthur’s transports inside Leyte Gulf. Of 563 destroyers constructed during World War II, the Samuel B. Roberts was the only one sunk, going down with guns blazing. The men who survived faced a horrifying three-day nightmare in the sea, where they battled a lack of food and water, scorching sun and numbing nighttime cold, and nature’s most feared adversary --- sharks.

Genesis: Truman, American Jews, and the Origins of the Arab/Israeli Conflict by John B. Judis - History

February 4, 2014


There has been more than half a century of raging conflict between Jews and Arabs --- a violent, costly struggle that has had catastrophic repercussions in a critical region of the world. In GENESIS, John B. Judis argues that, while Israelis and Palestinians must shoulder much of the blame, the United States has been the principal power outside the region since the end of World War II and as such must account for its repeated failed efforts to resolve this enduring strife.

Liberation Square: Inside the Egyptian Revolution and the Rebirth of a Nation by Ashraf Khalil - History

February 25, 2014


As a journalist based in Cairo, Ashraf Khalil was an eyewitness to the perfect storm that brought down Hosni Mubarak and his regime. Khalil was subjected to tear gas alongside protestors in Tahrir Square, barely escaped an enraged mob, and witnessed the day-to-day developments from the frontlines. From the halls of power to the back alleys of Cairo, he offers a one-of-a-kind look at a nation in the throes of an uprising.

Lincoln's Boys: John Hay, John Nicolay, and the War for Lincoln’s Image by Joshua Zeitz - Biography/History

December 30, 2014


Abraham Lincoln’s official secretaries, John Hay and John Nicolay, enjoyed more access, witnessed more history, and knew Lincoln better than anyone outside of the president’s immediate family. As Joshua Zeitz shows, the image of a humble man with uncommon intellect who rose from obscurity to become a storied wartime leader and emancipator is very much their creation.

Ninja: 1,000 Years of the Shadow Warrior: A New History by John Man - History

February 18, 2014


Spies, assassins, saboteurs and secret agents, Ninja have become the subject of countless legends that continue to enthrall us in modern movies, video games and comics --- and their arts are still practiced in our time by dedicated acolytes who study the ancient techniques. NINJA: 1,000 Years of the Shadow Warrior, by British historian John Man, is as colorful and intriguing as the warriors it so vividly brings to life.

The Race Underground: Boston, New York, and the Incredible Rivalry That Built America's First Subway by Doug Most - History/Transportation

February 4, 2014


In the late 19th century, two brothers from one of the nation's great families --- Henry Melville Whitney of Boston and William Collins Whitney of New York --- pursued the dream of his city digging America's first subway, and the great race was on. The competition between Boston and New York played out in an era not unlike our own: one of economic upheaval, life-changing innovations, class warfare, bitter political tensions, and the question of America’s place in the world.

Samurai: A History by John Man - History

February 18, 2014


The inspiration for the Jedi knights of Star Wars and the films of Akira Kurosawa, the legendary Japanese samurai have captured modern imaginations. Yet with these elite warriors who were bound by a code of honor called Bushido --- the Way of the Warrior --- the reality behind the myth proves more fascinating than any fiction. In SAMURAI, John Man provides a unique and captivating look at their true history, told through the life of one man: Saigo Takamori, known to many as "the last samurai."

The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend by Glenn Frankel - History

February 4, 2014


In 1836 in East Texas, nine-year-old Cynthia Ann Parker was kidnapped by Comanches. She was raised by the tribe and eventually became the wife of a warrior. Twenty-four years after her capture, she was reclaimed by the U.S. cavalry and the Texas Rangers and restored to her white family, to die in misery and obscurity. Cynthia Ann's story has been told and retold over generations to become a foundational American tale.

These Few Precious Days: The Final Year of Jack with Jackie by Christopher Andersen - Biography

February 11, 2014


They were the original power couple --- outlandishly rich, impossibly attractive and endlessly fascinating. Now, in this rare, behind-the-scenes portrait of the Kenne­dys in their final year together, biographer Christopher Andersen shows us a side of JFK and Jackie we’ve never seen before. Theirs is a love story unlike any other --- filled with secrets, scandals and bomb­shells that could never be fully revealed...until now.

Wondrous Beauty: The Life and Adventures of Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte by Carol Berkin - Biography

February 11, 2014


From the award-winning historian and author of REVOLUTIONARY MOTHERS and CIVIL WAR WIVES, here is the remarkable life of Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte --- renowned as the most beautiful woman of 19th-century Baltimore, whose marriage in 1803 to Jérôme Bonaparte, the youngest brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, became inextricably bound to the diplomatic and political histories of the United States, France and England.